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‘The Matrix Resurrections’ leaves you with a familiar feeling

Arts & Entertainment

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I walked out of “The Matrix Resurrections” feeling a mixture of elation and bewilderment. I was a little confused about what I was feeling until I remembered that a had a similar mix of feelings walking out of “The Matrix Revolutions.”

That’s right. “The Matrix Resurrections” gave me a case of those old 2003 feelings.

“Resurrections” brings the franchise up to date, with Thomas Anderson a.k.a Neo (Keanu Reeves) is working as a highly-successful game designer. When his boss orders him to create a sequel to his massive hit “The Matrix,” Neo begins to suffer a breakdown and questions what is real and what is not.

Most of all, Neo feels compelled to reach out to Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss), a woman who looks exactly like his lost love, Trinity. To find his way back to Trinity, Neo must unite with allies old and new against a dangerous new adversary with the fate of multiple worlds hanging in the balance.

This movie is a lot like previous “Matrix” movies in that it has a lot on its mind and so much to say but it also has to try to balance all that with providing the thrills and excitement of a big action blockbuster. Because of that, the pacing of this film is pretty choppy. It takes its time getting moving but then the plot lurches back and forth between long-winded dialogue and expository scenes and highly-choreographed action set pieces.

When it’s not waxing verbose or committing violence, “Resurrection” is offering up tons and tons of fanservice. The movie opens by quoting the opening scene where Trinity runs across rooftops with agents chasing her from the first “Matrix” film. Clips from the first three films pop up throughout “Resurrections,” ostensibly serving as Neos memories but often reminding you that this is, in fact, a continuation of the “Matrix” story.

It’s almost like the first three films haven’t been available for years on multiple formats (you can currently stream them on Hulu) and nobody’s seen them in almost twenty years. Perhaps the filmmakers felt like they have to remind you that “The Matrix” was an actual thing that you love. It honestly feels a little desperate.

And yet, for all its flaws, “Resurrection” is an easy movie to get swept up in. The action, while not as groundbreaking as the first time around, is still pretty exciting. The world the movie takes place in is vivid and imaginative. The film is full of striking and beautiful images.

Beyond that, “The Matrix Resurrections” is that rare sequel that actually has something it wants to say beyond “Shut up and give us your money.” Take the movie’s pointed criticism of the Hollywood studio system and their reliance on franchises, reboots and old, tired ideas to get people into theaters. Neo’s boss even has the gall to name-check Warner Brothers, the studio that financed “Resurrections.”

It may seem hypocritical but it also takes guts to call out the Hollywood system in your massively expensive installment of an iconic blockbuster franchise. I respect that. I may not love “The Matrix Resurrections” but I do truly admire it.

3 Indy Fedoras out of 5

MPAA Rating: R